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This recent research finding supports
several main premises in this nonprofit educational Web site. See
my comments after the article. The links
and hilights below are mine. - Peter Gerlach, MSW
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CHICAGO - Most
mental illness hits early in life, with half of all cases starting by
age 14, a survey of nearly 10,000 U.S. adults found.
begin with mild, easy-to-dismiss symptoms such as low-level anxiousness
or persistent shyness, but left untreated, they can quickly
escalate into severe
disabling phobias or clinical anxiety,
said Ronald Kessler, a Harvard Medical School researcher involved in the
That so many cases begin in people so young -
three-fourths start by age
24 - “is just staggering,” and underscores the need for better efforts at
early detection and treatment, Kessler said.
“These disorders have really become the chronic disorders of young
people in America,” said Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National
Institute of Mental Health, which helped fund the research.
The findings, published in the June issue of
Archives of General
Psychiatry, were based on face-to-face interviews conducted with people
ages 18 and older in 2001 through 2003.
The new figures also show that the prevalence of mental illness
nationwide has stabilized for the first time since the end of World War
II, Kessler said.
About 46 percent of people surveyed said they had experienced a mental
illness at some point in their lives, and about 26 percent said they had
within the previous year - rates similar to those reported in a 1994
version of the survey. Before the earlier survey, rates had steadily
increased since the mid-1940s, Kessler said.
The previous increase was probably at least partly due to better
detection and awareness, Kessler said.
The overall prevalence rate is probably an underestimate because the
study included only English-speaking adults and excluded rarer illnesses
such as schizophrenia and autism.
Most ailments were mild.
Only about one-fifth of those who reported any
mental disorder within the past year had a serious illness, meaning
their daily activities were severely affected.
© 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
this article doesn't
define "mental illness (or health)". so its conclusions are
very general and open to
of this study are based on self-reports, which are probably
in favor of underreporting
the frequency and personal and family impacts of psychological
the report ignores the
nature-nurture controversy over the possible causes
of "mental illness." It offers an opinion on the scope
of the problem (national mental illness), but stops short of
diagnosing or proposing how to lower it.
The researchers vaguely promote "early detection and
treatment," rather than
the language of the report reinforces
the outdated psychoanalytic "medical model" of mental
illness. This model proposes that psychological disturbances are a
"sickness" rather than a spiritual/psychological condition
and a major symptom of
Most people resist feeling "I'm
sick" or "I
have a disease," which inhibits accurate
This research summary indirectly supports
several core premises in this nonprofit Web site: i.e. that
non-organic "mental illness" is a symptom of
[psychological wounds + unawareness]
causes significant parental
abandonment, neglect, and abuse ("trauma") in a child's
early years, which...
wounds the kids causing symptoms of "mental illness."
Premise: our core "mental illness" problem
is U.S. voters' unawareness of this toxic inheritance cycle,
and their passive acceptance of irresponsible child
conception and inadequate or harmful parenting.
in this nonprofit
self-improvement Web site and its related
focus on (a)
for psychological wounds, (b) intentionally
over time, and (c)
protecting vulnerable young kids from inheriting them. For three practical
options you can tailor to break the lethal [wounds + unawareness]
in your family, region, and nation, see